The Kendal power station in Mpumalanga. Foto: Brand South Africa
  • Eskom suspended two power station managers after breakdowns that led to loadshedding this week.
  • It said "apathetic behaviour" worsened problems at Eskom's power stations, which have seen twelve generating units break down in the past week.
  • 2020 is already the worst year for load shedding on record.
  • For more articles, go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Eskom has suspended the Tutuka and Kendal power station managers after breakdowns triggered stage 4 loadshedding this week.

"While it is true that the aging fleet is plagued by legacy issues of neglect and omitted maintenance and is therefore susceptible to unpredictable breakdowns, it is also true that the situation is exacerbated by serious issues of apathetic behaviour by some management staff," Eskom said in a statement on Friday.

READ | Keep your fibre internet going during load shedding - here's how much it costs

The managers are suspended pending disciplinary inquiries.

"Further interventions are ongoing at the Kriel and Duvha power stations," Eskom said.

"Engagements have been held with other power station mangers to ensure that the previous culture of weak consequence management will no longer be the norm and will no longer be tolerated at Eskom."

Three senior generation managers will be deployed at the Duvha, Kriel, Tutuka and Kendal power stations.

With almost four months to go, 2020 is already the worst year yet for loadshedding in South Africa, with rationing at an all-time high, despite generally lower electricity demand from manufacturers and businesses hit by the coronavirus.

Twelve generation units broke down over the past week, removing almost 11,000 MW in capacity from the national grid. At the same time, there was a sharp increase in power demand as a cold front hit SA. There is currently a power deficit of 3,000MW in South Africa.

Stage 3 load shedding will continue until 22:00 on Friday, and Eskom warned that it will drag on into the weekend as the system "remains unreliable and vulnerable".

This week, the Eskom board met twice with minister of public enterprises Pravin Gordhan over the "systemic causes" of load shedding.

"In these meetings it has been agreed than an urgent culture change and high-level competence enhancement across all 44,00 staff ... should be accelerated, promoted and strongly supported," Eskom said.

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